The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

I read Jo Thomas’s book The Oyster Catcher last year and loved it so was really pleased to have the chance to read her new book. It’s very different in location from The Oyster Catcher which was set in coastal Ireland. The Olive Branch is set in rural Italy and to me, Jo Thomas has really captured the essence of small town Italy. Be warned if you read this book though, that you will want to at least visit Italy if not move there as Ruthie has done!

I had to laugh at her accidentally buying her Italian house after bidding on ebay under the influence of a prosecco or three! Who hasn’t posted something on Facebook or sent an email or text after a night out that you regret the next day? All doesn’t exactly go to plan for Ruthie when she discovers that this is an old family home she has bought and the family didn’t know it had been sold! It’s not the idyllic escape she had hoped for as one expensive thing after another goes wrong. And then there is the lovely Marco to contend with. One of the Bellanuovo family who expected to inherit the property, there is a mutual dislike between himself and Ruthie. Or is there maybe just a bit of electricity between them instead?

I was fairly sure how the relationship between them would end but there is a lot of ‘will they, won’t they’ moments to keep you guessing. Right up till the final few chapters, I wasn’t sure how this would end, especially when Ruthie’s ex turns up unexpectedly. Will Ruthie be tempted to go back to England with him or will she stay in her newly adopted Italian home? You won’t really know until the last few pages.

As I said, if you read this you will want to visit Italy, you may want to buy your own Italian villa, you’ll definitely be craving prosecco, olives and Italian food. But I’m not sure you’ll want your own goat – this will make sense once you’ve read the book! A lovely escapist romance, lose yourself for a few hours in the warmth of the olive groves.


My thanks to the publishers for the review copy through Netgalley. The Olive Branch was published on 2nd July and you can buy a copy here: The Olive Branch.

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse. Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible. But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream. First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family…and then there’s the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

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